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AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DINNERS

CHERYL AND BILL JAMISON are names you should recognize if you have been following my cookbook reviews for any length of time—I am unable to find my history on this couple at the present time—possibly because I lost a lot of material when I bought a new computer—and that came about after being seriously HACKED although I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would be interested in hacking MY files – inasmuch as everything I have written about cooking and cookbook authors can be found on my Blog. Well, let me get to the point—I was unpacking a box of cookbooks to put on the shelves in the garage library (I think someone must have given them to me) and I found a cookbook by the Jamisons that I was totally unfamiliar with!

And it was published not so very long ago, in 2008 (for me, that’s recent); the title is AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DINNERS, The Ultimate Culinary Adventure, with the intriguing subtitle “50,000 MILES, 10 COUNTRIES, 800 DISHES AND 1 ROGUE MONKEY” This book is in pristine condition with a spotless dust jacket that I wish I knew how to copy and post with this article. Published by Harper Collins, the dust jacket offers a charming photograph of the Jamisons, with the notation “Cheryl and Bill Jamison are the authors of more than a dozen cookbooks and travel guides. They appear regularly on television, and are frequent contributors to publications, including COOKING LIGHT and BON APPETIT. They live just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.” I have to confess, my bafflement has just increased—I subscribe to both Cooking Light and Bon Appetit and don’t recall seeing any of their articles. (which means I will get out stacks of the latter magazine, which I keep, to search for the Jamisons)

Well, the first thing on MY mind, maybe yours too, was “Where did the Jamisons go? Per the dustjacket, “After years of writing award-winning cookbooks, renowned culinary experts Cheryl and Bill Jamison were ready for a break. So in the fall of 2005 they packed their bags, locked up their house in Santa Fe, and set off on a three-month-long visit to ten countries—all on frequent flyer miles. Among their stops were

Bali

Australia

New Caledonia

Thailand

India

China

South Africa

Brazil

–and don’t forget France

I have to add that this book reminds me so much of the foreign countries one of my favorite authors, Myra Waldo visited and wrote about decades before the Jamisons. I can’t help but wonder if the Jamisons knew about Myra Waldo or were inspired by her.

“AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DINNERS” is as much prose (their adventures) as it is poetry (the recipes). Now, there have been many cookbooks written about food in other countries (perhaps more so after WW2 than prior to it, when our soldiers returned home with new recipes and in many instances, brides as well—but anything that the Jamisons write is sure to be interesting and transporting the reader to another country.

And while “Around the World in 80 Dinners” may take you on charming visits to these countries, I have to tell you there are only actually ten recipes in the book itself (yes, I counted) – so you will have to read the book for the ADVENTURES more than the recipes—although there is one made with your Wok, Charred Long Beans with Black Olives, that I have already earmarked to try.

If you yearn for a cookbook providing more recipes, may I suggest another Jamison favorite, AMERICAN HOME COOKING, which contains over 300 recipes.

I really enjoy the Jamisons’ style of writing—whether recipes or travel adventures; you feel like you know them and are a part of their circle of friends.

 

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(Still) TENDER AT THE BONE

TENDER AT THE BONE BY RUTH REICHL was previously posted on my Blog—but reading Reichl’s latest book, RUTH REICHL, MY KITCHEN YEAR, 136 RECIPES THAT SAVED MY LIFE” reminded me of my love for her early memoir, TENDER AT THE BONE – and so I am re-writing that memoir:

“I just finished re-reading Ruth Reichl’s early memoir TENDER AT THE BONE and want to tell you, this is a must for all of us—for everyone who loves to cook, for anyone who grew up in the 40s or the 50s but especially in New York; for anyone who appreciates good food, for all of us who enjoy a good story—for those of us who have suffered in the not-too-distant past the idiosyncrasies of our mothers—but mostly for all of us who appreciate the lure and calling of the kitchen.

I first read about Ruth Reichl’s TENDER AT THE BONE in a lengthy, fascinating review that appeared around the time Reichl’s memoir was first published and was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times. The review was actually a reprint of chapter two, titled Grandmothers, and it captivated everyone who read it—along with everyone who ever enjoyed having a wonderful grandmother. In it, Ruth describes the relationship she enjoyed all her life with her father’s first wife’s mother, Aunt Birdie, who was—at four feet eight, the smallest grown-up that Ruth or any of her friends had ever seen.

From Aunt Birdie and Aunt Birdie’s cook, Alice, Ruth was introduced to the kitchen and from Aunt Birdie, Ruth received the one thing all of us as children need and cherish—unconditional love. Aunt Birdied, incidentally, so desperately wanted to be a grandmother that she presented herself at the hospital when Ruth was born, and volunteered herself for the job.

Ruth Reichl has been a restaurant critic for the New York Times, New West Magazine, California magazine, and the Los Angeles Times newspaper, and was editor in chief for Gourmet Magazine until it folded (I began re-subscribing to Gourmet when Ruth became editor its chief. I loved everything she wrote and attempted to follow her career). She also edited ENDLESS FEASTS which was a tribute to sixty years of writing from Gourmet. ENDLESS FEASTS was published in 2002. It’s the perfect book to carry around with you on errands to the post office or bank, wherever you may find yourself standing in line—the short stories are ideal for waiting-in-line and the book is small enough to fit into most purses.

Ruth Reichl was a writer and editor who was the Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine for ten years until its closing in 2009. Before that she was the restaurant critic of the The New York Times, (1993-1999), and both the restaurant critic and food editor of the Los Angeles Times (1984-1993). As co-owner and cook of the collective restaurant The Swallow from 1974 to 1977, she played a part in the culinary revolution that took place in Berkeley, California.

From Ruth Reichl’s official biography, we learned that she began writing about food in 1972, when she published “Mmmmm: A FEASTIARY”. Since then, she has authored the critically acclaimed, best-selling memoirs Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples, Garlic and Sapphires, and For You Mom, Finally, (originally published as Not Becoming My Mother and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way). She is the editor of The Modern Library Food Series, which currently includes ten books—I was curious about this series and checked through both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble to see what all is in the series. (It looks like something I will want to order and write about—one thing that stunned me was the discovery that Henri Charpentier is the subject of one of the books. I wrote about Charpentier in January, 2011, on my blog—but had written about him long before that, for the cookbook Collectors Exchange).

Reichl has also written the introductions to Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery: Recipes for the Connoisseur (1996) and The Measure of Her Powers: An M.F.K. Fisher Reader (2000), and the foreword for Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, by Shizuo Tsuji (2007). She is featured on the cover of Dining Out: Secrets from America’s Leading Critics, Chefs and Restaurants, by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page (1998), History in a Glass: Sixty Years of Wine Writing from Gourmet, 2006, and Gourmet Today, 2009.

Ms. Reichl has been honored with six James Beard Awards (one for magazine feature writing and one for multimedia food journalism in 2009; two for restaurant criticism, in 1996 and 1998; one for journalism, in 1994; and Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, 1984) and with numerous awards from the Association of American Food Journalists. In 2007, she was named Adweek’s Editor of the Year. She received the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism, presented by the Missouri School of Journalism, in October 2007. Ms. Reichl received the 2008 Matrix award for Magazines from New York Women in Communications, Inc..

She is also the recipient of the YWCA’s Elizabeth Cutter Morrow Award. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in the History of Art from the University of Michigan and lives in New York City with her husband, Michael Singer, a television news producer, and their son.

Whew! I hope you were able to keep up with me listing all of that!

Right now, I’d like to focus on TENDER AT THE BONE, an early memoir but not the very first. That would be “Mmmmm: A Feastiary” published in 1972.

TENDER AT THE BONE is the story of Reichl’s life and how it led her to the kitchen from early childhood to the present. This is not really a cookbook although it does contain some of Reichl’s favorite recipes, including Aunt Birdie’s famous potato salad and Alice’s apple dumplings with hard sauce.

Many of Reichl’s experiences in life struck a familiar chord – when she tells of being sent to a French girls school in Canada—where everyone except Ruth spoke French—and how out of place and foreign she felt – I was instantly reminded of my first year at a Catholic Girls’ High School where everyone seemed to know where to go and how to behave, except me, (one nun never forgave me for walking into the cloister to get to my science class, not believing that I had no idea what “cloister” meant—although fifty years later when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our graduation, Sister Seraphia—reading my confession about the cloister in the school’s quarterly booklet—conceded that I probably didn’t really know what “cloister” meant). As for me, I made it my business forever after to learn the meaning of any word I was unfamiliar with. It was a good lesson).   And while my mother may not have been quite as outrageous as Ruth’s, mine may have run a close second. It took many years for my siblings and I to discover that it wasn’t the food we disliked; it was the way mom cooked it. (Oh?   You mean rice isn’t intended to be a hard sticky ball like library paste?) Ruth says her mother was taste-blind, as some people are color-blind. My mother was pre-occupied with managing to feed seven people with one pound of hamburger meat (you keep adding bread to the ground beef. None of us knew what a real hamburger tasted like until we grew up and could order something from a local Frisches’ diner.)

TENDER AT THE BONE, write the publishers, is the story of a life determined, enhanced, and defined in equal measure by unforgettable people, the love of tales, well told, and a passion for food. In other words, the stuff of the best literature. The journey begins with Reichl’s mother, the notorious food-poisoner, known forevermore as the Queen of Mold and moves on to the fabled Mrs. Peavey, onetime Baltimore socialite millionairess, who for a brief but poignant moment, was retained as the Reichl’s maid. Then we are introduced to Monsieur du Croix, the gourmand who so understood and yet was awed by this prodigious child at his dinner table that when he introduced Ruth to the soufflé, he could only exclaim “What a pleasure to watch a child eat her first soufflé!…”

In an Amazon.com Internet interview with Ruth Reichl, she explains that she didn’t start out thinking she was writing a memoir; she just really wanted to do some writing that was not just restaurant reviews. We also learn from the interview that Ruth is a kindred spirit to us all—she has hundreds of cookbooks. The Fannie Farmer cookbook is one of her all-time favorites (and in TENDER AT THE BONE you discover her introduction to, and friendship with, cookbook author Marion Cunningham who wrote the latest version for the Fannie Farmer Cookbook).

Ruth says she loves Marian Morash’s vegetable book THE VICTORY GARDEN COOKBOOK and was greatly impressed with Rozanne Gold’s RECIPES 1-2-3, (previously reviewed on my blog).

Ruth Reichl also loves Richard Olney’s books, especially SIMPLE FRENCH FOOD and says that one more book she really loves and has had for about twenty years is GOOD FOOD OF SZECHWAN.

TENDER AT THE BONE is available on Amazon.com or from one of many private vendors for a pre-owned copy. Alibris.com also has pre owned copies .I do hope that all of Ruth Reichl’s fans will buy a copy of RUTH REICHL – MY KITCHEN YEAR. (which I will write about when I finish reading it)

review by Sandra Lee Smith

75 WEIGHT LOSS TIPS THAT REALLY WORK

FROM A JUNE, 2012 WOMAN’S DAY ARTICLE

  1. Don’t skip meals. When you get too hungry you’re less likely to make healthy choices.
  2. Never go on a diet when you’re under a lot of stress.
  3. Ideally, you should try to lose no more than 1 to 2 ½ pounds a week.
  1. A short bout of exercise each day is more effective than longer, less frequent periods.
  2. To lose weight for good, know that you can’t go back to your old eating habits. You’ll need to change your lifestyle.
  3. Eating too little can backfire. Never have less than 1,200 calories a day—or you may slow down your metabolism.
  4. Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry. You’re likely to make high-fat, low-nutrient impulse purchases.
  5. For a fit and toned figure dieting alone isn’t enough. You also need to exercise.
  6. A slipup doesn’t have to lead to an entire day of overeating. Resolve to make better choices at your next meal.
  7. Cut down, not out. Trim portions of food instead of removing entire categories (carbs, fats, etc).
  8. Have breakfast. People who do so tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day.
  9. Pump up your protein intake early in the day. Protein is digested at a slower rate than simple carbs, so you’ll feel full for longer.
  10. Eat slowly and savor each bite. You’ll be satisfied with less food.
  11. If you have trouble controlling how much you eat of a favorite food, such as ice cream, do not bring it into your home. Eat it only in restaurants.
  12. Make lunch at home and bring it to work. It will probably be more nutritious and have fewer calories—not to mention cost less.
  13. Get enough sleep. You’re more likely to give into cravings when you’re tired.
  14. Only eat when you’re seated at the table. You’ll do less unplanned nibbling.
  15. Keep your portions in control by never eating straight from the box or bag.
  16. Save some calories for snacks between meals.
  17. Hate to waste food? Instead of eating your children’s leftovers, save that uneaten half sandwich for the bird feeder.
  18. Drink a big glass of water at the start of every meal to help you feel full.
  19. End every meal with a large filling glass of water, too.
  20. Keep a food journal to hold you accountable
  21. Use small plates. Research shows that you’ll eat less because you think you ate more.
  22. Don’t have a big lunch and a big dinner on the same day. If you overeat at one meal, cut back at the next.
  23. Don’t think about what you can’t eat. Focus on what you CAN eat more of—fruits vegetables, whole grains, fish, legumes and nuts.
  24. Choose water packed tuna rather than oil packed—and you will cut calories by almost a third.
  25. Use nonstick spray to sauté foods. Or rub oil onto the pan with a paper to9wel for the lightest coating possible.
  26. If you must have goodies around for your family or for company, don’t make or buy your favorite kind.
  27. Invest in single serving containers and use them for leftovers. That way you won’t polish off everything.
  28. Use a tiny spoon when sampling and if you’re doing it a lot, eat les for lunch or dinner. The calories from those little tastes you take while coking can really add up.
  29. Let your toast of baked potato slightly cool before buttering so it absorbs less.
  30. Prepare slow-to-eat foods: hot sops, uncut lean meat, whole fruits.
  31. Always keep a container of cooked brown rice in the frig for a quick lowfat addition to leftovers.
  32. Chew sugarless gum while you cook so you won’t nibble.
  33. Switch to mustard. It has no fat versus the 11 grams in 1 TBSP of mayonnaise.
  34. If you have the room, keep small exercise equipment (such as free weights) in the kitchen. You can get in a few reps while you’re waiting for something to cook—and the sight of the gear will           stop you from munching.
  35. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where most fresh fruit, vegetables, chicken fish, eggs and dairy are all located. Venture into the interior aisles only with a list in hand.
  36. Forget about frying your fish, poultry or other cuts of lean meat. Only broil, roast or grill them.
  37. Don’t serve family style—make up a plate. And when people want seconds, let them help themselves.
  38. Make stews and soups ahead of time and refrigerate. Excess fat will float to the top making it easy to remove before reheating. (I do this all the time—sls)
  39. Give away temptation. After a dinner parry pack up the dessert and give it to your departing guests. (do this all the time too—sls)
  40. Flavor your meats with fresh or dried herbs and spices, salsa, vinegar or lemon.
  41. Plan, plan, plan. Not having healthy options on hand (or in mind)makes it too easy to resort to fast food, especially when your family is clamoring for something to eat.
  42. Before going to a restaurant, check out its menu for the lightest dishes. Many places post calorie counts online.
  43. Wear fitted clothes or a slightly tight belt when dining out. The feeling of restriction will send “stuffed” signals to your brain.
  44. Scope out everything that’s available at a buffet or dinner party before eating. Save about a quarter of your plate for high-cal stuff and the rest for lighter foods such as cut-up vegetables or mini-grilled chicken skewers.
  45. Have the bread basket removed as soon as you sit down at a restaurant. This calorie bomb is a big diet downfall.
  46. In a group, be the first to order so you’re not influenced by your friends’ choices.
  47. Be picky. At a family gathering skip the food you can get anywhere and only eat the special dishes, like grandma’s potato salad. You’ll feel more than satisfied without inhaling hundreds of extra calories.
  48. Order the simpler dishes. They’re often less fattening because they don’t have any sauce.
  49. Think of your waiter as your aide in cutting calories. Ask him to keep your water glass filled, to double the side of veggies and omit the starch.
  50.  Eat a snack before going to a party. Arriving with an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster.
  51. Always ask for dressings and sauces on the side.
  52. At a restaurant, eat only half your meat and take the rest hone in a doggie bag. Or ask your dinner partner to split a meal. (*This is an especially good tip when the restaurant you are at has large servings. Bob & I often shared an entrée but ordered extra salads—sls)
  53. If you like munching while watching TV take up knitting or doing your naill—anything that keeps your hands busy. (*I like to go through stacks of magazines looking for recipes to keep—I cut the pages out with an exacto knife—and keep the magazines and knife on a TV tray table.—sls)
  54. Savor what you’re eating especially the first two bites which are the most flavorful. This trick can help you eat less—you may decide that some treats aren’t worth the calories.
  55. Stash apples, bananas, oranges or whole g rain crackers in your bag so you’ll always have a low-cal snack on hand.
  56. Be aware that a craving takes 20 minutes to go away. If you can distract yourself that long you probably have it beat.
  57. Brush your treeth or rinse with mouthwash when you have a craving. The clean taste may dampen your appetite. (I had a lot of coworkers who brushed their teeth after eating lunch, to lessen the temptation to eat anything else the rest of the day. – sls)
  58. When that bag of caramel popcorn won’t stop calling your name , close your eyes and visualize eating 30 pieces—imagine the crunch , the salt, the stickiness. Chances are you will eat less than usual.
  59. Enjoy the best. If you’re dying for chocolate, just a few high quality squares should do the trick. (*I like to keep a box of my favorite SEES candy on hand but have not had a box in the house for many months—the trick was to allow myself one or two at night in bed while watching TV or reading in bed. If you keep the candy far away – like I keep it in the frig in the garage—you are less tempted to go get some of it—especially in bad weather! – sls)
  60. Eat what you’re craving in its healthiest form. For instance, go for a baked potato instead of fries.
  61. One of the best ways to rev up your metabolism is to do strength-training exercises at least twice a week. Building muscle makes your body more efficient at burning fat throughout the day even when you’re resting.
  62. Tape your favorite TV shows and watch them only when you exercise.
  63. Be sure to wear supportive sneakers and comfortable clothes so you feel good during exercise.
  64. Get into a regular routine. You’ll find that as you get fit and healthy, your appetite may change especially for junk food.
  65. Create a shorter walking route for days when yhou’re busy and pressed for time. it’s far better                             than doing nothing at all.
  66. Work out first thing in the morning so its done no matter how crazy your day gets.
  67. Remember that small changes add up. You can lose 12 ½ pounds in a year just by giving up butter on your toast. (*This tip really caught my attention! I can do this!—sls)
  68. Exercising in a group   or with a friend makes a workout less dreary so you’re more likely to stick with it.
  69. Set small goals and as you reach each one reward yourself. A new book, a spa treatment, whatever appeals to you.
  70. Crank up for fun music with a fast b eat while you work out. It will make time fly.
  71. Instead of thinking you deserve to each something, think that you deserve to be healthy and happy.
  72. Hang a calendar in a prominent spot and mark the days you work out and eat right. Seeing evidence of your hard work will inspire you to keep it up.

*I find that typing up something like this makes a greater impact on my mind than simply reading it. I am not suggesting that everyone type 75 tips – it took me several days to get this completed. I’m just saying. – Another thing, pick out the tips that you know work for you and then add on others as you go along. I’d be bonkers if I tried to do all 75 at one time!  Sandy/sandychatter

 

 

OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY, JULY 4, 2015

My childhood girlfriend, Patti, sent this to me & I want to share it with all of you–it is especially meaningful at this time in our lives when all that our Independence means:

The 4th of July. . .

Please read this, it is well worth the time you’ll spend.
——————————————————————————–

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men
who signed the Declaration of Independence? Their story. . .

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,
and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the
Revolutionary Army;
another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.

Eleven were merchants.

Nine were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well educated.

But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,
Walton , Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that
the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson
home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General
George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed,
and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.
The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying.

Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid. Remember: freedom is never free!

I hope you will show your support by sending this to as many

people as you can, please. It’s time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July means more than beer, picnics, and baseball games. True “reflection” is a part of this country’s greatness. Please be a participant.

Sandra Lee Smith

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To Lose a Child; to my friend Patrice

It isn’t fair, it isn’t right –don’t tell me words–with words so slight; don’t say you know just how I feel –
I ache with pain and know it’s real;
each morning when I wake and find
that you’re still gone–I’ll lose my mind …
Unless you’ve lost a son like me —
don’t comprehend– I’m in a sea–
of deepest darkest agony…
Only briefly, to come up for air,
and look around–But you’re not here.
Tell me, baby, do you see
the pain I’m in –while you are free;
I’m tied to earth to wait my turn,
Tell me, God, what must I learn?

– Sandra Lee Smith-

COLLECTING HANDWRITTEN RECIPES

Here’s a thought–what do you do with handwritten recipes originally in a small ring notebook, now falling apart with age, browning and literally falling apart?

Or more precisely, what do I do with all these little treasures? I think some of them were given to me by Roger, my son Kelly’s godfather, who passed away years ago but when he was alive and able to get around in his truck, would find boxes full of recipes in small notebooks, old manufacturers recipe booklets (back then given away free, for the asking on a postcard–back when a stamp for a postcard was three cents).

I think Roger enjoyed scouting around for valuables in thrift stores. I still have about 6 or 8 restaurant size trays used in cafeterias; Roger found these at a restaurant supply store and I have been using those trays for many purposes ever since my sons were children. Roger bought them because we often made shishkabobs and it was handy to have these trays with the kabobs waiting to go on the grill.

whenever the grandkids come to decorate cookies, theses trays are absolutely perfect; each child decorates his/or her cookies on the tray and the mess is kept to a minimum. I also use the trays whenever I am baking cookies, placing racks on the trays to cool the cookies.

But I digress (sorry, that’s a bad habit of mine) – getting back to handwritten recipes–I have been asking myself for a long time how to preserve them especially when most of these are in such poor condition. The answer was right in front of me!

For the past few weeks I have been going through my cooking/womens magazines, taking them apart, and converting them into my own version of homemade cookbooks; I probably have over 50 three-ring binders with pages from magazines put into plastic page covers that I get at staples for about $18 for a box of 200 “sleeves”.

This was something that started in 1958 with Christmas recipes from my favorite magazines. That binder grew until nothing more would fit into it, so I started a second binder of cookie recipes but by now was clipping any cookie recipes that appealed to me. I am up to 12 binders of cookie recipes. I love going through these binders and choosing new recipes to try. But now there are binders for almost any kind of food – an album for poultry, an album for meat, one for veggies – well, you get the picture.

And as I was talking to myself about how to preserve these little recipe booklets that have come into my life, I thought of a solution. I took a booklet apart, carefully, and then was able to put 2 or 4 pages to a plastic protector.

My best guess is that these little recipe notebooks were compiled by a woman who collected recipes from her friends, neighbors, maybe relatives. Oftentimes, a recipe will be in a different handwriting – did my creative cook ask the person in question if she would write her recipe in her notebook?

And how did these recipes come about? Did the creative cook go to ladies’ luncheons? other gatherings in which women brought a favorite dish? a wedding? a funeral? Creative Cook doesn’t tell us where all of the recipes came from but I picture her taking this notebook and a pencil (most recipes are in pencil, not pen) with her to whatever function the ladies were attending. Eventually, she filled a notebook and started another one. I am forever grateful.

–Sandra Lee Smith

My Granddaughter Savannah

SAVANNAH IS HER NAME

Isn’t it amazing how fast by the years have flown,
From infancy to woman, just look how much you’ve grown;
From a little girl in pigtails who was learning how to read,
From toddler to teenager, we’ve watched you take the lead.
You were always Grandpa’s favorite, and he called you “Littlebit”
Because he knew you’d be outstanding in whatever life that fit –
I know he’d be proud of you, in whatever curves life throws you,
And would say it’s been a pleasure just for him to know and love you;
And I feel the very same way, as we watched your life unfold—
If you’d been a gymnast, you would always take the gold,
But where ever life may lead you, whether here or far away,
Remember that I love you, far more than I can ever say.
My girl is going to college—life won’t ever be the same–
Watch out world, she’s coming and Savannah is her name.

–Sandra Lee Smith (AKA GRAMMY), January 3, 2014

My granddaughter has been here for this past week, a brief visit with all of us vying for her attention. We managed to play 4 games of scrabble and it is a tie, 2 wins each. I wrote the above poem when she started off to college; she will be starting her second year at Sacramento State and has a part time job to boot. Her daddy is taking her back to Burbank airport in about an hour or so–he likes having the time alone with her so they can talk. As she leaves us again–and the tears flow–it’s just as hard seeing her leave as it was the first time. I love you, Littlebit. Grandpa did too.